The final race of the season will take place this Saturday at Road Atlanta. Magnussen already has four Petit Le Mans winner’s awards in his trophy cabinet and further success this weekend would be a huge help in trying to chase down the championship-leading Porsche of Patrick Pilet.
Balance of Performance adjustments have left the Corvette battling to keep pace with its rivals at Porsche, Ferrari and BMW. This is the second year in a row the Danish/Spanish duo have faced the same problem. Last year their speed was pegged back after winning four races in succession.
Corvette Racing is also looking to round out the season by adding to its endurance racing “Triple Crown”. The Michigan-based squad has already won at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans and now wants a Road Atlanta victory to complete the four big endurance events.
While Magnussen and Garcia need a good turn of fortune to take the title this weekend, the pair actually lead the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship by four points over their teammates Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Ryan Briscoe.
Briscoe will rejoin Magnussen and Garcia this weekend for the final race of the year. The team did very little running today with heavy rain hitting the Road Atlanta circuit. More rain is expected throughout the weekend.
Magnussen is also looking to finish the year on a strong note after he and his four key Corvette Racing teammates Garcia, Gavin and Milner were all announced today as full-season drivers for the GM brand in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship for 2016.
Petit Le Mans – GT Le Mans (US Eastern/Denmark)
TUDOR Practice 1: 11:10am/5:00pm, Thursday, Oct. 1
TUDOR Practice 2: 3:25pm/9:25pm, Thursday, Oct. 1
TUDOR Practice 3: 7:30pm/1:00am, Thursday, Oct. 1
TUDOR Practice 4: 10:05am/4:05pm, Friday, Oct. 2
TUDOR GTLM Qualifying: 4:00pm/10:00pm, Friday, Oct. 2 (IMSA.com)
TUDOR Warmup: 9:00am/3:00pm, Saturday, Oct. 3
Race: 11:15am/5:15pm, Saturday, Oct. 3
US TV Schedule
11:00am-noon: FOX Sports 2, Saturday, Oct. 3
Noon-2:30pm: IMSA.com, Saturday, Oct. 3
2:30-7:00pm: FOX Sports 2, Saturday, Oct. 3
7:00-8:30pm: IMSA.com, Saturday, Oct. 3
8:30-9:30pm: FOX Sports 2, Saturday, Oct. 3
Replay: 1:30-4:30pm: FOX Sports 1, Sunday, Oct. 4
JAN MAGNUSSEN Q&A
A: “That is certainly a big mountain to climb but we’re going to give it everything we have. With the way the points work, the Porsche and the BMW would need to have a disastrous day and we’d have to win but in a race at Petit Le Mans, anything can happen.
“It looks like we might have some wet weather this week so that really throws in added complications to the weekend.
“Our Corvette was pretty strong here last year so we’re going to go out and give it our best shot and see what happens.
“The Endurance Championship would be great to win but obviously we’d love to take the overall championship like we did in the final year of the American Le Mans Series in 2013.”
Q: Is Road Atlanta one of your favorite tracks on the schedule?
A: “Absolutely. I started my sports car career here with Panoz who were based at Road Atlanta and have countless miles here under my belt in testing. I know the place extremely well.
“It really is an awesome piece of road. It has that bit of old school character to it which will punish you if you make a mistake. There is a big difference between running wide at the final corner at Road Atlanta versus running wide at COTA. One lets you drive back onto the track via the run-off, the other has you in the grass with a big concrete wall only a few feet away.
“The track also has a great combination of fast and slow corners, lots of undulation and the entire atmosphere here at Petit is just awesome.
“I was based locally here near Braselton when I first started racing in the US so I have a lot of great memories and great friends here at Road Atlanta.”
A: “It’s great to be back with Corvette Racing for 2016. I’ve absolutely enjoyed every season with the team starting back in 2004. All the victories at Le Mans, winning races and championships in the ALMS and now the TUDOR Championship have been great. I’m very proud and very grateful to everyone at Corvette Racing and Chevrolet for giving me an opportunity to race for them over the last 10-plus years.
“Next season will be a huge challenge with new cars and new teams coming in – starting with Ford. It will take a huge effort to maintain the level of success we are used to at Corvette Racing. Having the same full-season drivers for another year is a great start.”
Q: How tough a race is Petit Le Mans?
A: “All these big endurance races it is very hard to win, but extremely easy to loose. We took our first Petit Le Mans GT2 win (as the class was known) here in 2010 with Olly Gavin and Emmanuelle Collard and finished second the following year with Antonio and Jordan Taylor.
“In 2013, we had one eye on the points the whole race because we were trying to close out the championship but last year it all came undone in the pits when the Risi Ferrari and the 911 Porsche tangled in the pit lane when the red light came on and I had nowhere to go.
“It ruined the race for all three of us and that’s just what can happen at races like this. Sometimes it is the most unexpected things that can bring bad luck. It is vital for the team – not just the drivers, but everyone involved with Corvette Racing to be at the top of their game.
“The fact Corvette Racing has been able to win three of the big enduros this year shows how good these guys on the pit wall are.”
A: “We finished the season in third spot but finished on a high at the last weekend by taking the final race of the year. The other great thing is my teammate at Magnussen Racing Experience Michael Markussen took his first ever heat win, which was awesome.
“It was pretty cool to be out there with Michael trying to chase him down at the finish. While I would have loved to win myself, it was great as the team owner to see your other car take the chequered flag.”